Bible and Interpretation has published my latest essay entitled, “How and Why Academic Peer-Review is About to Change.” The article looks at how new technologies like blogs, wikis, and Google Docs can improve the peer-review process by allowing for increased review, an improved editing process, and a shorter time to press. Check it out.
on this day, august 29, 19XX, jim west was born. little did he know that one day he would be the most widely read, most visible, and most influential blogger about biblical issues that no one admits to reading on earth. ;-)
of course, jim isn’t right we disagree about many things: his stance on gay marriage leaves much to be desired, and his failure to comprehend the sheer magnitude of the importance of the abc hit series lost (with the exception of the last episode which sucked) may very well cost him at the pearly gates. for some, jim is a wee bit too very outspoken, and his use of hyperbole in cases of dilettantes and total depravity is a shade more than some can stomach. but those of us who have had the opportunity to spend time with the man, the myth, and the page view statistical legend in real-time outside of his online persona know him to be a caring man, committed to his church, and possessing a genuine concern for others.
of course, jim won’t appreciate the fact that i’m telling people that he is actually a good-hearted and compassionate man beneath his oft cantankerous online disposition, but that’s too bad. for all of the pros and cons, similarities and differences, agreements and disagreements, jim is honest and straightforward man who likes what he likes, dislikes what he dislikes, and lets you know both even when you haven’t asked. his contributions to realm of blogging are innumerable, and he has become a true asset to the scholarly community as a central resource for what is going on in the online realm.
so without sounding too much like a star trek geek, allow me to offer jim this birthday message: you are and always will be my friend.
happy 50th birthday jim,
chris rollston has written a solid article on the probable inventors of the alphabet on the asor blog. he concludes:
(1) the Muttersprache of the inventors of the alphabet was a Northwest Semitic language, (2) and that the inventors of the alphabet functioned in a reasonably high status role within a component (or components) of the Egyptian administrative apparatus, that is, officialdom. (3) I believe that it is reasonable and tenable to argue that they learned Egyptian writing from Egyptian scribes. (4) I contend that it would be improbable that illiterate miners were capable of, or responsible for, the invention of the alphabet. (5) Ultimately, writing in antiquity was an elite venture and those that invented the alphabet were Northwest Semitic speakers, arguably they were officials in the Egyptian apparatus, quite capable with the complex Egyptian writing system.
give it a read.
remember geocities, that ubiquitous web page hosting solution that gave users a digital box of crayons and animated gifs and allowed them to use them all on the same page? well now you can relive the birth of the internet by going back and transforming your favorite websites into what they would have looked like had they been created in geocities.
just go to wonder tonic’s geocities-izer website and enter the url of the site you want to send back in time to make it look like it was designed by a 13-year old in 1996, complete with midi file music!
here are a few i made:
give it a try and enjoy.
would make it unlawful to knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person.
Current law addressing false impersonation is outdated and was not drafted with the technologies of the 21st century in mind. SB 1411 brings us up to date by making these forms of cyber impersonation a punishable offense.
State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced a bill in June that would make it a misdemeanor to maliciously impersonate someone. SF Gate has previously reported on the bill here.
If Simitian’s bill passes, online impersonations with the purpose “of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding” would be punishable with a maximum fine of $1,000 and one year in jail.
The article states:
Malicious online impersonation has often been brushed away as the complaints from overly sensitive people who can’t stand parody or criticism, but a range of recent incidents have really stressed the question of where to draw the line.
Recent incidents? I might know of one.
The bill unanimously passed both the California Assembly and Senate, and now awaits Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature.
I strongly urge the governor to sign the bill. As a victim of this kind of crime, I cannot underscore how important this kind of legislation is. The first amendment was designed to protect differences of opinion, dissenting views, and to promote new ideas, not as a shield to protect criminal impersonators, forgers, and identity thieves hiding behind electronic forms of anonymity in an effort to dodge accountability and civil remedies while they perpetrate well-orchestrated, premeditated campaigns of harassment, defamation, and libel against their victims.
The law is coming.
Filed under: california, internet, justice and legal, technology | Tagged: alejandro martinez-cabrera, bill, criminal impersonation, forgery, fraud, identity theft, joe simitian, law, san francisco chronicle, sb-1411, schwarzenegger, sf gate | 1 Comment »
I was interviewed live this morning on Arutz Sheva’s Israel National Radio on the LandMinds program with Barnea (Selavan) and David (Willner). Jim Long sat in for Barnea, who was away. NYU’s Dr. Lawrence Schiffman was interviewed in the first hour (mp3: part 1, part 2), and I was interviewed in the second hour (mp3: part 1, part 2).
Professor Schiffman answered questions about Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls for the first hour and provided some wonderful insights and background to the study of the scrolls. In the first part of the second hour, I answered questions about Qumran and offered my opinions about the establishment of the site, its residents, who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the role of virtual reality modeling in archaeology. In the second half hour, I answered questions about the history of archaeology, the role of scholars in public education, technology’s role in archaeological education, the importance of debunking pseudoscience and sensationalist claims, how to teach critical biblical studies without abandoning the faith and/or alienating people of faith, issues of biblical historicity and mythology, and finally answered the story about how I came to be Nicole Kidman’s private tutor.
Many thanx to David Willner and Jim Long for a wonderful interview. Don’t forget to add the LandMinds Facebook page.
LandMinds broadcasts live at www.israelnationalradio.com every Wednesday from 5-7pm Israel time, 3-5pm in the UK, and 10-12am EST. Shows are rebroadcast, and archived on the A7 and Foundation Stone websites for your convenience. Podcasts are also available on iTunes.
Filed under: archaeology, christianity, dead sea scrolls, israel, Jerusalem, judaism, palestine, qumran, robert cargill, technology, ucla | Tagged: archaeological education, arutz sheva, david and goliath, dead sea scrolls, digital modeling, faith, historicity, israel national radio, itunes, jim long, LandMinds, lawrence schiffman, qumran, Qumran Visualization Project, robert cargill, technology, virtual reality | 1 Comment »
Harvard University is the nation’s top school according to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report rankings released today.
California once again landed the most schools in the top 50 with 9 schools, with 5 of those in the top 25:
- 5. Stanford
- 7. Cal Tech (tied with MIT)
- 22. UC Berkeley
- 23. USC (how they passed UCLA I’ll never know.)
- 25. UCLA
- 35. UC San Diego
- 39. UC Davis
- 39. UC Santa Barbara
- 41. UC Irvine
Read more here.
Filed under: education, scholarship | Tagged: cal tech, college, harvard, ranking, Stanford, u.s. news & world report, uc berkeley, uc davis, uc irvine, uc san diego, uc santa barbara, ucla, university, usc | 4 Comments »
there’s no other way to say it: this sucks.
cnn is reporting:
A computer glitch mistakenly caused around 2,500 applicants to Middlesex University in the United Kingdom to receive acceptance letters to study at the school in error.
i remember how tense of a time it was when i was applying and i cannot begin to tell you how torn up i would be if i had received one of these letters only to be told later that it was in error. imagine all of the excitement, validation, encouragement, and celebration a student experiences upon opening that letter, and then heap upon that the disappointment of rejection.
it was an obvious mistake by the university’s admissions office, but still. my sympathy goes out to all affected by this error.